When asked what I thought of today’s iWatch announcement

Monday, March 9th, 2015


For no other reason, I applaud the move because it is daring, really daring. Not an incremental 3% growth target in an existing marketing; not waiting to see what the store across the street is doing; not afraid to fail as success is certainly not guaranteed; imagine if the concept takes hold!? I’m a fanboy for sure. And been a customer since the early 80s. So often have they been written off or dismissed as…. Doesn’t the world need a dose of bold example? Something to talk about and to ponder. Isn’t a consequence of all things social that the face of the enterprise has to be familiar, trustworthy, available – and not because Don Draper says so?!. Real leadership.

I still think that we are at the steam-powered car phase of the Internet. Thrilled that Apple is making us think differently even if, even I, have no clue why I would want an iWatch.

Maybe spring is in the air?


Christopher Perrien

Saul Steinberg, Alfred E. Newman, Amelia Earhart and the Joseph Strauss

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

I just didn’t want to lose these.

Mad Magazine and Johnny Carson supplied my irreverent laughs in those late grammar school and early high school years. In the modern time of Kindles and digital newspapers, it’s a charming memory to recall riding my bicycle with Spencer Hayman to the venerable New Orleans drug store, Katz&Besthoff, on Tuesdays, to purchase, I think for 12 cents, the latest edition of Sgt. Rock and Superman comics. How we would pore over each page. Oddly, I was never attracted to the offers of drawing lessons or Charles Atlas muscle building programs in the back of each issue. It’s a pleasant and comforting trip to the past to learn that Mad retains its singular, clever point of view even when its siblings such as The Onion appear faster and more hip.

At first, I thought that my connection to Ms. Earhart was my recollection of Apple’s Think Different advertising campaign of the late 90s. Much is expected of those to whom much is given; as well, I suppose, from those who achieve much. I think that the Mapgate furor is alot about a little, yet so seldom does Apple seem to stumble, stumble it does.

Now that I think about it, I do have tangential connection to Amelia Earhart. The proud ship, Joseph Strauss, DDG-16, anchored in Saipan in 1978 with yours truly as the navigating officer. In preparing for this visit, I became acquainted with a young lieutenant who commanded our Coast Guard station on this former battlefield of an island. His hobby was searching for and often finding artifacts of World War 2 including complete underground hospitals, rusted tanks and cases of 45 caliber pistols still coated in Cosmoline, MIL-C-11796C Class 3 for those in the market. He even established a decent sized museum for these artifacts all about the Loran Station’s grounds. One evening, as I asked for details about his discoveries – “I never go into the jungle without finding something,” he said- he offered that a persistent rumor about the island is that the Japanese kept Amelia Earhart prisoner here at the local jail. Of course, You Tube substantiates this supposition.

Having seen where 25,000 Japanese civilians committed suicide rather than surrender to our Marines, I can believe nearly any story about that island at that time.

Thanks to New York Times Bits, Found the Words

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

“When we invented the car, it was a substitute for horses, but it was the second phase of the car revolution — when we invent things around the cars like gas stations and drive-ins — that created new business markets,” Mr. Wallman said. “We’re seeing this happen now with the technology we have in our hands. We’re entering the second phase of this revolution, where entirely new markets will be created, and Apple could create those.” NY Times Bits, 23 September 2012

Near Field Communication & Apple’s iOS 5

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

Here is my assessment: the world awaits the iPhone 5 in fall and its rumored NFC capabilities.

http://www.macworld.co.uk/ipad-iphone/news/?newsid=3354709 – a simple diagram of how NFC works with insight into application

Related analyst PoV: Apple iPhone 5 predicted to have NFC capability including transportation feature, ie check-in on plane and train.

https://www.v.me/ Visa’s Mobile Payments service. In Beta. Will launch this fall coincident with iPhone5

http://www.engadget.com/2012/01/12/visa-certifies-nfc-equipped-android-blackberry-smartphones-for/ Visa’s PayWave

http://paymentsviews.com/2012/04/09/we-can-see-mobile-payments-from-here/ Recent analyst view on Payments space including NFC

http://www.forbes.com/sites/ciocentral/2012/05/09/its-apple-vs-google-vs-everyone-in-the-mobile-payments-war/ Recent Forbes PoV re Payments and Mobility

My sense is that the market is taking a ‘let’s see attitude’ sort of hoping and ready to panic if Apple’s new iPhone brings NFC to life. Google Wallet has not made much of a difference yet. Visa is likely to benefit and certainly is up to something. What will be the levels of simultaneous cooperation and competition remains to be seen. And we’re all
tired of too numerous passwords, loyalty cards, credit cards etc. This burden of ours fulfills Steve Jobs’s definition of innovation (paraphrased), ‘find the gap and provide the solution.’

At my end, I visited in late June the amazing Apple Store in Grand Central Station, on par with Covent Garden, to buy an extended battery for my iPhone. I used my Apple Store app to purchase this item by logging on to iTunes; photographed the item’s bar code; agreed to payment; walked-out with item. No sales assistant, no bag. Received email receipt before I was out of station. Impressive.

Apps, Mobility & the Enterprise

Sunday, June 10th, 2012

Full disclosure: I was a member of this roundtable discussion as Irepresented IBM. I don’t feel that I enjoyed the cache’ or offered the truly useful insights as did those who are tasked with making sure that apps work well inside of the corporate firewall.

Surprising to me was the near unanimous consensus that Android apps will not be welcomed into their enterprises until the malware threat of Android apps is neutralized. Apple’s iOS approval process mitigates much of the risk of malware sneaking-in with an app.

Please click here for the report:
Mobility Overview

Whodathought that a silly video would accurately predict an outcome?!

Friday, May 4th, 2012

One becomes the most well capitalized company on the New York Stock Exchange in the early 21st century; the other becomes irrelevant in the personal computing business. One’s strategy is excellence in consumer product innovation; the other strives for success via cost-reduction.

Link is here.

Excerpt from Steve Jobs by Walter Issacson

Friday, October 28th, 2011

I read this biography while flying back and forth to meet with senior executives of a Canadian Bank. On the late night flight to Raleigh, I sat next to a young, napping woman who awoke as the plane touched-down, checking her iPhone immediately. Wanting to share my thrill of the biography, I offered “if you like the phone, you’ll probably enjoy this biography.” She stared for a split second and replied, “Apple has changed my work completely. The products allow me to do my work.” “What do you do?”, I asked. “Designer. Used to work for Nokia but they never believed that design mattered first. Engineering came first. Now I work in Berlin and visit Raleigh to help with a local agency. Some of the founders of FROG (Apple’s own design firm) founded this agency.” (BTW, how Helmut Esslinger of FROG remembers Steve Jobs). “Oh,” mumbled the stunned Christopher, trying to imagine if in 45 seconds such an honest, spontaneous exchange of personal, public and historical information could ever take place between clients of other consumer electronics products.

Initial conclusions upon finishing the biography: 1) why doesn’t Apple’s iBooks let one gift an eBook as I’d give 10 away today?! 2) Steve Jobs was weird and weirdly unique and there will never be another like him — and this is not all bad. How’s that!? from a fanboy. As my Apple friend informed me, “yes, there has definitely been a shift at the company over the past three weeks and maybe we can use the change to better operationalize some of the success and processes as we are bursting at the seams with systems catching up to creative and physical output.” 3) it’s up to us to carry-on in some manner, in some small way what Steve Jobs accomplished in so many significant ways. Of course, behaving different is hard. Maybe I should try it.

Over the past 18 months of speaking with banking executives of many sizes and risk profiles, nearly all react positively to the Simon Sinek description of why Apple is so successful…because they know Why they do things; they know what they believe. Below is an excerpt from the biography where Tim Cook offers his description of what Apple believes in.

“We believe that we are on the face of the earth to make great products, and that’s not changing. We are constantly focusing on innovation. We believe in the simple not the complex. We believe that we need to own and control the primary technologies behind the products that we make, and participate only in markets where we can make a significant contribution. We believe in saying no to thousands of projects, so that we can really focus on the few that are truly important and meaningful to us. We believe in deep collaboration and cross-pollination of our groups, which allow us to innovate in a way that others cannot. And frankly, we don’t settle for anything less than excellence in every group in the company, and we have the self-honesty to admit when we’re wrong and the courage to change. And I think, regardless of who is in what job, those values are so embedded in this company that Apple will do extremely well.”
Tim Cook Apple CEO pg 488 Steve Jobs by WalterJacobson.

Mourning is over. Time to get busy.

19 October 2011 Remembrance Celebration at Cuppertino Campus

Sculley, Spindler & Amelio! Oh My! Then Steve returned.

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

In the mid-1980s while working at Bath Iron Works, one of the documentation specialists for the Electrical Engineering Department raved about this PC that so improved the quality and speed of his work. “Called an Apple,” he exclaimed, “it’s incredible, man. It’s like I do my work the way that I want to without wasting time on how the machine works. It’s unbelievable! Everybody in the Department should have one.”

Then I moved to North Carolina and hooked-on to a start-up where everyone was issued one of these Macs with the 9″ screens. We could open two documents at once – yeah, baby! – network with other Macs and even share a $10,000.00 laser printer around the cubicle farm.

Paid $2,200.00 in 1990 for a Mac with 2 megabytes of RAM and a dot matrix printer.

But somehow these Apple products had a feminine overtone; real men used DOS (before Windows 95 introduced phrases such as Blue Screen and Security Patch into the office vernacular). No doubt that Apple had plenty of chances to rule the roost if only they woulda licensed the operating system to other PC manufacturers. Finally, Windows did catch-up by virtue of its broad distribution relegating the Mac to beatniks and hippies and designers and those who favored taste eg ease of use over price. Apple hovered at loyal 6% market share for a long time.

Jobs was replaced by the man from Pepsi, John Sculley, who was replaced by the German Diesel, Michael Spindler, who tried to sell Apple to IBM or Sun or Philips, and then was replaced by the NCR execs Gil Amelio and Ellen Hancock. Folks, those were dark days of fractured market positioning and the dullest of product ideas. Mac batteries were reported to burst into flames on occasion. My related personal misfortune was to be an Apple developer during the Spindler-Amelio period; visits to Cupertino felt like a tour of a movie set were a once renown film was made. “Watch out for tumbleweed in the lobby” sort of ambience.

No one dreamed that Jobs would return; that Pixar would rescue Disney; that Apple would invigorate both our telecommunications and retail shopping industries. I spoke with a senior banking executive last week who purchased recently his first Mac product. He said, “when you get it, it’s like.. sort of feels like…” he hesitated. Two of us finished his remark by saying, ‘it’s like receiving a present so well packaged is the product and so welcoming to open. We all feel that way.” He agreed. My colleague rejoined, “I keep my Apple packaging.” With a conspiratorial smile, the exec agreed that he kept his also.

I paid $750 for a Newton in 1993! Hand-writing recognition estt not soet grtate, tho.

I could dance all night on the wonder of this company and the genius of the man who steered it to its brilliance. Of course, I’m saddened by his ill health and scared that we’ll retreat under the onslaught of the cost-accountants and marketeers who treat us as though, well, we have no taste.

For now, and amidst this uncomfortable economic time, we must admit that we have an example of design genius, marketplace understanding, technology-driven productivity and a vivid example that beauty and function are indeed compelling roommates.

My kind of neighborhood

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

“This is worth repeating. It’s in Apple’s DNA that technology is not enough. It’s tech married with the liberal arts and the humanities. Nowhere is that more true than in the post-PC products. Our competitors are looking at this like it’s the next PC market. That is not the right approach to this. These are post-PC devices that need to be easier to use than a PC, more intuitive.” Steve Jobs at conclusion of iPad2 announcement.

Why Nokia partners with Microsoft

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Apple: 5% marketshare for phones; 50% of profits.

Nokia: 40% marketshare for phones; 10% of profits – and declining.

I’ll remember this the next time that someone asks ‘where’s the business for this new technology? or What’s the ROI or How do we make money on this?’ Of course, fundamental questions and let’s not lose sight of the herd. And sometimes it’s a herd of lemmings. Sometimes not.

Graphic thanks to The Economist 10 Feb 2011 issue.